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More than half of all patients with diabetes develop neuropathic disorders affecting the distal sensory and/or motor nerves, or autonomic or cranial nerve functions. Glycemic control can decrease the incidence of neuropathy but is not adequate alone to prevent or treat the disease. This chapter introduces diabetic neuropathy with a morphological description of the disease then describes our current understanding of metabolic and molecular mechanisms that contribute to neurovascular dysfunctions. Key mechanisms include glucose and lipid imbalances and insulin resistance that are interconnected via oxidative stress, inflammation, and altered gene expression. These complex interactions should be considered for the development of new treatment strategies against the onset or progression of neuropathy. Advances in understanding the combined metabolic stressors and the novel study of epigenetics suggest new therapeutic targets to combat this morbid and intractable disease affecting millions of patients with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Andrea M Vincent, Bernadette Calabek, Laurel Roberts, Eva L Feldman. Biology of diabetic neuropathy. Handbook of clinical neurology. 2013;115:591-606

PMID: 23931804

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